The government has been taking steps to eliminate the use of asbestos in manufacturing and construction for decades. Experienced New Orleans mesothelioma attorneys will tell you, however, that because of the long latency period of asbestos-related diseases, we will be seeing mesothelioma cases for a long time to come.
Scientists and some asbestos manufacturers had been aware of the dangers of asbestos exposure since the 1930s. It was not until the 1960s, however, that this information became well known the public. This resulted in thousands of people being exposed to asbestos for decades even though, in some cases, their employers were fully aware of the hazard the workers were facing.
The first asbestos-related lawsuit was filed in 1966 by Claude Tomplait, an asbestos worker from Lake Charles, Louisiana who had been diagnosed with asbestosis. While he was only partially successful in bringing his case, his efforts to obtain compensation for his medical condition opened a floodgate of litigation against the companies that had been exposing their employees to this cancer-causing and often fatal material. Lawsuits
According to the Rand Corporation, by the end of 2002 about 730,000 individuals claiming medical conditions caused by asbestos exposure had filed lawsuits against about 8,400 corporations and businesses. Because of the large number of claims, by mid-2009 approximately one hundred corporations had filed for bankruptcy in an effort to obtain protection from their asbestos-related liability.
Fortunately for those suffering from mesothelioma, the bankruptcy settlements of many of these large corporations included a requirement that the company establish a trust fund to cover compensation for those who filed claims based on asbestos exposure. Some of these trust funds hold more than $1 billion dollars. As a result, compensation for exposure to asbestos may still be available even if an employer declared bankruptcy.
If you were exposed to asbestos in the workplace and have any questions, please feel free to contact us. We can be reached at (504) 581-6411 or 855-GERTLER.